Computer Hell

computer hellLast Tuesday I posted about my Acer computer, which, for no logical reason, decided it would not start … and worse, decided it could not repair itself.   After a day of trying everything I knew of to get it to start, I decided it was time to punt.  I ordered a new Dell Inspiron Computer complete with Windows 7.   Setting up a new computer is painful enough without dealing with a new operating system that many refer to a Windows Hate.   I knew I had recent backups on my Seagate Central Network Drive and a disc image on another external hard drive, so I expected a frustrating few days recovering everything.  What I didn’t expect was a descent into the computer version of Dante’s Inferno.  It was a weekend of Brilliant Ideas gone bad.

Brilliant Idea #1: Replace the drive in my old computer, restore the system from my recovery discs, reinstall the system, then bring it up to date using the system image.  New drive works perfectly, system reinstalled.  But when I hooked my backup drive to my old computer, I discovered it wasn’t recognized by the system, nor was it recognized by my new on or my laptop.  It uttered no reassuring hum of discs spinning or even the click-click-clicks or a failing drive.  Apparently dead.  OK.  There’s there’s always the network drive.  But whoops, I stored my backups in the secure partition and forgot the password.   Yes, it’s stored in the secure password application … on my now-dead computer.  Shit.

Brilliant Idea #2 (1 am Friday night):  Perhaps the old drive is readable.  Buy an external enclosure and hook it up to my new computer and recover my important data files.   Not.

Brilliant Idea #3:  External hard drives usually use a commercial drive in a custom enclosure.  I open up mine and find it’s the same type as my old computer’s.  I put it in the enclosure I bought and … walla … it’s readable.  Yay.  I restore the disc image to my old computer and restore my backups.  Yay!  The backups are 5 months old (which is four hundred years in my computer based life).  The newer ones are on my inaccessible network drive.  Shit.

Brilliant Idea #4: Reset the password on the network drive, since Seagate’s website says that no data is lost.  I try everything I can find on the website but my data’s still inaccessible.   Seagate sucks.

Brilliant Idea #5:  After much research I discover a data recovery program that can recover data from an unreadable drive under certain circumstances.   I run GetDataBack for NTFS and it finds all my old files and is able to recover them.  Yay !!!

So, it’s almost noon on Sunday and I’ve been holed up in my Computer Cave for three days except for an afternoon movie date and three hours to watch my USC Trojans beat Number 4 Stanford on national TV (Football Heaven).  I’m gradually setting up my new computer and nothing seems lost so far.  Lesson’s Learned (what’s a trip into Computer Hell without Lessons Learned?):

1.  Regular automatic backups on multiple drives.
2. A dead disc is not necessarily dead.  Do not do anything to it (write to it, format it or throw it out the window).
3.  Even if Windows cannot read the disc, there are applications that may be able to recover your data.  GetDataBack for NTFS allows you to run a free trial version and pay for it only if it discovers recoverable files.

Hopefully I’ll be smiling by Monday.

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6 Comments on “Computer Hell”

  1. cherperz Says:

    That all sounds worse than hell. We have discussed previously that if something goes wrong with my computer, I call my guy who understands I am an idiot and appreciates that it is people like me that keep him in business. So with that being said, I only understood about 50 percent of what you said.

    I hope your Dell Inspiron is a great as mine has been. My desktop is almost 5 years old and runs as fast and reliable as it has from day one. In that same period of time I have replaced three laptaps. (in fairness, I replaced them because they were covered under warrenty at Best Buy and they tend to give out new computers rather than fix the old one.)

    As for external hard drives, I have been using Western Digital My Book external hard drives, which backs up my computer on Sundays. I haven’t had any problems retrieving informatin from it but then I haven’t had my computer completely “die” either.

    Wise choice on the Windows 7, my latest laptop which is about 3 months old now is making me nuts. Its a Toshiba with Windows Hate and while I am sort of, kind of, figuring it out. whoever designed that platform was wanting it to look cool as opposed to work easily.

    PS..while I know ntfs stands for New Technology File System…I prefer to think of it as New Technology Frequently Sucks

    • oldereyes Says:

      I think I could adapt to any system but my big concern is compatibility with some very expensive software I use when I’m working. It took some effort to get it to run with Windows 7 so I don’t want to risk buying Windows 8 then having to spend $2000-3000 to replace the software package. I am definitly not going to use the network drive for anything important.

  2. Kim13 Says:

    I am computer illiterate, so barely understood the jargon, but did understand all the frustration. I am working from my husband’s home-made desk top, and can’t wait to get enough money to pull my new HP lap top off lay-away. It has Windows hate, which I did at first, but I got used to it, and loved it. Glad you got all repaired and recovered!

    • oldereyes Says:

      Well, all repaired and recovered is a matter of degree … and my office looks like a bomb went off, computer and disc part everywhere. I could probably adapt to Windows 8 but I use some very expensive software that might not run on Windows 8 (it didn’t like Windows 7 all that much).

  3. digitalgranny Says:

    Oh man that is a computer night mare. My windows 7 went down the toilet and I had to flush. I have a new dell xps 8700 coming with windows hate on it.
    I have every thing backed up on external flash drives.
    I have a laptop with windows hate on it and was getting the hang of it til it upgraded to and IE 11.
    Told my hubby a pencil and paper are looking real good.
    Good luck with yours.

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